In the News
Your source for news coverage about GIA, GIA members, and developments of all kinds in the field of aging
Read news coverage of aging issues as well as reports, announcements and other news from GIA members here.
Nora Obrien-Suric to lead Health Fdn of Western & Central NY
The Health Foundation of Western and Central New York has announced that its new president will be Nora Obrien-Suric, PhD, who has been at The John A. Hartford Foundation since 2008 as a Senior Program Officer. Obrien-Suric a doctoral degree in social welfare, policy and administration from Hunter College of The City University of New York, a master’s degree in behavioral science and gerontology from California State University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and philosophy from St. Michael’s College and a certificate in geriatric mental health from the University of Southern California. She replaces Ann Monroe, chair of the GIA Board of Directors, who in March announced her intention to retire from the Foundation.
Webinar Jan 27: Family Caregiving: New Horizons for Caring Across America.
This webinar will discuss a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, Caring Across America, with presenters Donna Benton, PhD, Director, University of Southern California Family Caregiver Support Center; and Rani Snyder, MPA, Program Director, The John A. Hartford Foundation. Co-Sponsored by Archstone Foundation, Grantmakers In Health, and The John A. Hartford Foundation.
Seniors in poverty see largest increase in untreated tooth decay
Tooth decay rates over the past 15 years have declined for children but have risen for adults, with poor seniors experiencing the largest increases, according to a new analysis of government data, writes Jane Koppelman, Director of Research for the Dental Campaign of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Rural hospitals brace for damage from ACA repeal
Kaiser Health News reports that, "in the wake of this fall’s presidential election,...many ...rural hospitals will likely face new financial challenges that will intensify longstanding struggles, experts say. The Affordable Care Act, which President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal, threw a number of life-savers to these vital but financially troubled centers. And its full repeal, without a comparable and viable replacement, could signal their death knell. The health care law expanded Medicaid to tens of thousands of previously uninsured patients, providing new revenue streams for rural hospitals, which often serve a poorer, sicker patient population. The law also created a program that allowed some of these facilities to buy prescription drugs at a discount. “All these rural hospitals are operating on thin margins. The removal of any income source or coverage, or expansion of bad debt, is going to create significant financial hardship,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association.
USDA Rural Development 2016 Progress Report
With a foreword by Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, and Lisa Mensah, USDA Rural Development Under Secretary, this report includes a state-by-state progress report and thematic sections on housing, economic development, poverty, tribal nations, jobs, business, energy, and utilities.
Cargill Philanthropies keeps founder’s vision alive
This December 2016 article from Philanthropy Daily discusses the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, "poised to take its place as the eighth largest philanthropy in America, following a restructuring and consolidation of three separate funds established by the late Margaret Cargill, heiress to the Minnesota-based agricultural conglomerate" It goes on: "Cargill left behind more than $6 billion for charitable purposes, which puts her foundation behind giants like the Gates Foundation ($87.8 billion) but just ahead of well-established philanthropic powerhouses like Bloomberg Philanthropies ($6.5 billion). Her massive bequest is now finally ready to be converted into pure philanthropic firepower, thanks to steps taken by her foundation’s leaders over the last decade.
How Judith Rodin Created A New Model for Philanthropic Funding At The Rockefeller Fdn
During her tenure, the outgoing president has created innovative ways to use philanthropic dollars to unlock corporate donations, because—while philanthropy has a lot of money—it's not enough to solve the world's problems on its own.
GIA Members Support Playbook for Better Care
Five national foundations—The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The SCAN Foundation, and The Commonwealth Fund—have launched an online resource to help health system leaders and insurers improve care for patients with complex medical and social needs. Developed by experts at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, The Playbook: Better Care for People with Complex Needs offers insights about patients with complex needs, examples of successful approaches to care, guidance on making the business case for these models, and information about opportunities for policy and payment reform.
New Report from Milken Inst: Power of Purposeful Aging
With people living longer than ever and the world’s older population expanding at an unprecedented rate, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging convened the Purposeful Aging Summit in Los Angeles in 2016. Thought leaders from public policy, business, academia, philanthropy, and media gathered to discuss reframing perceptions of aging in the 21st century. This report, The Power of Purposeful Aging:Culture Change and the New Demography, summarizes the themes, findings, and vision of the Purposeful Aging Summit.
NextFifty Initiative announces new CEO
NextFifty has announced their new CEO, Margaret Franckhauser. Franckhauser will officially join NextFifty in January 2017. She comes to the grant-making nonprofit from Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, where she spent 19 years as CEO of the visiting nurse organization. NextFifty is also preparing to accept grant applications from across Colorado and the nation in 2017.
6 Ways research is changing how we age: AFAR
Steven Austad, PhD, scientific director at the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) writes in a new column for the Huffington Post about the state of scientific research on aging.
New guide on unleashing the power of public-philanthropic relationships
A new how-to guide from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shares lessons learned from the Sustainable Communities Initiative. Includes HUD's experience working side-by-side with philanthropy, aligning their efforts with long-standing community engagements and investments to serve and lift up distressed neighborhoods and underrepresented residents.
Report from The Summit on Creativity and Aging in America
The summit was held in collaboration with the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, May 18th, 2015 at the National Endowment for the Arts. This report, co-presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Center for Creative Aging, brought together 75 experts in arts, aging, design, and health services, and covers topics discussed in three breakout sessions: age-friendly community design; health and wellness and the arts, promoting arts interventions to improve health and well-being outcomes among older adults; and lifelong learning and engagement in the arts—promoting greater cognition and creativity among older adults by means of social engagement.
New Report Finds Lack of Support for Family Caregivers
Family caregivers for adults 65 and older are stressed, isolated and and often suffering financially, as Next Avenue reports.. With the aging of the boomer population, many more family members and friends will be needed to care for them in America in coming years. And yet fewer of those helpers will exist. Those are some of the troubling conclusions of the new report, "Families Caring for an Aging America," by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The John A. Hartford Foundation was the lead funder for this report, which also had support from Alliance for Aging Research. Alzheimer's Association, Archstone Foundation, California HealthCare Foundation, Commonwealth Fund, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, Retirement Research Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Santa Barbara Foundation, Tufts Health Plan Foundation, and Veterans-Health-Administration.
Taking on ageism: Milken's Paul Irving
Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, recently responded to a Los Angeles Times article on age discrimination in Hollywood. Click through to read his entire letter.
John Feather: How Reducing Social Isolation Protects Older Adults
In this very popular piece from his Huffington Post series, John Feather discusses the problem of social isolation and how age-friendly communities offer ways to address it. Originally published in April 2015: "What we now know is that lonely hearts are hearts at risk, because social isolation is a killer. Specifically, social isolation is associated with, and a powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, institutionalization, stroke, re-hospitalization, depression, and increased risk of suicide, just to name a few. It is linked to everything from a higher risk of contracting the common cold to faster tumor growth in cancer patients. All in all, socially isolated people are twice as likely to die prematurely (even controlling for other relevant factors) than are people with many strong social relationships. This generally holds true for people of all ages. Older people, however, may need and respond to somewhat different forms of support and intervention to address the problem of isolation."
Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness
In Britain and the United States, roughly one in three people older than 65 live alone, and in the United States, half of those older than 85 live alone. Studies in both countries show the prevalence of loneliness among people older than 60 ranging from 10 percent to 46 percent. John T. Cacioppo, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and director of the university’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, has been studying loneliness since the 1990s. He said loneliness is an aversive signal much like thirst, hunger or pain.
‘America’s Other Drug Problem’: Copious Prescriptions For Hospitalized Elderly
An increasing number of elderly patients nationwide are on multiple medications to treat chronic diseases, raising their chances of dangerous drug interactions and serious side effects, writes Anna Gorman in Kaiser Health News. Often the drugs are prescribed by different specialists who don’t communicate with each other. If those patients are hospitalized, doctors making the rounds add to the list — and some of the drugs they prescribe may be unnecessary or unsuitable. “This is America’s other drug problem — polypharmacy,” said Dr. Maristela Garcia, director of the inpatient geriatric unit at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. “And the problem is huge.” This article was reported during a fellowship supported by New America Media, the Gerontological Society of America and The Commonwealth Fund.
NY Times op-ed: "Jailing Old Folks Makes No Sense"
Geraldine Downey, director of the Center for Justice, and Frances Negrón-Muntaner, professor at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, both at Columbia University, write in the New York Times that, "if prisoners older than 50 have served decades-long sentences and have shown evidence of rehabilitation, the only rationale for holding them appears to be endless punishment and retribution." Even as the overall prison population continues to decrease, it is estimated that by 2030, there will be more than 400,000 over 55s — a staggering increase from 1981, when there were only 8,853. The numbers are rising despite recognition that continuing to lock up older prisoners not only does nothing to reduce crime, but is also expensive and inhumane. More and more aging people are becoming seriously ill and dying in prison. Prisons are not equipped to be nursing homes.
WHO Call for Submissions, Age-friendly Practices Against Ageism
Ageism is a serious concern for older people and is heartbreakingly ubiquitous, from the negative ways older people are portrayed in the media, to employment limitations, to social environments that restrict the full participation of older people in societies. To raise awareness for this year’s United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP) theme, Take A Stand Against Ageism, cities and communities are encouraged to share their concrete actions to combat ageism by submitting Age-friendly Practices against Ageism. Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2016.
Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being
This new report takes a close look at the key indicators of well-being in older adults in the United States, as they live longer and face new economic, health care, and residential living challenges. 41 indicators of well-being are broken into six broad groups – population, economics, health status, health risks and behavior, health care, and environment. This year’s report also includes new indicators on social security beneficiaries, dementia, long-term care providers, and transportation, plus a special feature on informal caregiving.
What U.S. cities can do to help seniors live better
Our nation’s 65-and-older population is growing rapidly, but most U.S. cities are totally unprepared for that demographic shift. We don’t simply need more public transportation and affordable housing. We also need more benches at bus stops, longer crosswalk signals, and more homes with master bedrooms on the first floor. Americans may shudder at the thought of aging, but it happens to us all. On Point takes a look at getting our cities ready for a graying population, and what makes communities aging-friendly.
Hospital stays often worsen disabilities of elderly patients
Many elderly patients deteriorate mentally or physically in the hospital, even if they recover from the original illness or injury that brought them there. Research shows that about one-third of patients over 70 years old and more than half of patients over 85 leave the hospital more disabled than when they arrived. Specialized medical units to meet their needs, like San Francisco General's Acute Care for Elders (ACE) ward, may be the answer.
Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. Seniors Has Some Form of Disability
A new U.S. government report on aging finds that close to a quarter of Americans over 65 have some form of disability, according to a news release from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, which authored the report. The Forum found that in 2014, "22 percent of the population age 65 and over say they have at least one limitation in vision, hearing, mobility, communication, cognition, or self-care." That finding means millions of Americans -- often spouses or children -- are becoming caregivers for disabled, aging loved ones.
Washington Post: Baby boomers are taking on ageism & losing
At a time when conditions have vastly improved for women, gay people, disabled people and minorities in the workplace, prejudice against older workers remains among the most acceptable and pervasive “isms,” writes Lydia dePillis in the Washington Post magazine. And it’s not clear that the next generations — ascendant Gen Xers and millennials — will be treated any better. Structural, economic and demographic changes have created new types of ageism that are more subtle and widespread. Older workers have the misfortune of wanting to work longer just as a new generation is trying to get an economic foothold. In a weak economy, companies are sometimes all too happy to dump veteran employees, with their higher health-care costs and legacy pensions, for younger ones who expect neither.
GOVERNING magazine cites GIA on age-friendly communities
A new article in GOVERNING magazine, "The Growing Imperative for Age-Friendly Communities" by Adam Davis of DHM Research, cites GIA's work, saying, "places that take the needs of an aging population seriously now will fare best over the long haul." The article also cites the recent GIA-funded study by Margaret Neal and Alan DeLaTorre at Portland State University on making the economic case for age-friendly communities.
Kathy Greenlee's farewell blog as she departs ACL
Today is Kathy Greenlee's last day at the Administration for Community Living. She posted this blog as her farewell to the aging and disability community.
Founder of Hope Meadows, Generations of Hope retires
Generations of Hope announces new President and CEO FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Champaign, Illinois, July 23, 2016 – Following the retirement of Dr. Brenda Eheart founder and President, Generations of Hope is pleased to welcome Tom Berkshire as the President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Berkshire has taken over the duties as President and CEO promoting the development of multiple intergenerational neighboring communities being created around the country. He will oversee the development of a consulting and information service that reaches out and provides services to new intentional communities serving elders and vulnerable populations. Mr. Berkshire joins Generations of Hope with over 35 years’ experience in government policy, child welfare administration and consulting, most recently as President at New Century Retirement Living. Before that, he was Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, President and CEO of Illinois Easter Seal Society, Human Service Policy Liaison for Governor James R Thompson, and Human Service Planner for Governor Dan Walker. He has worked in program planning and budgeting in Connecticut and Wisconsin state government and for San Diego County and the Greater London Council. Mr Berkshire has been a consultant to Generations of Hope for the last seven years. “Creating new types of communities that provide affordable housing for seniors and address a significant issue such has improving the lives of foster children or helping older youth with developmental differences find a safe and interesting life is an exciting service to lead. Dr Eheart, our founder has initiated a truly remarkable new type of community, beginning with Hope Meadows in Rantoul in 1994. Her concept of an neighboring community providing a quality life for vulnerable populations and seniors continues to be expanded throughout the United States. I am pleased to carry on her wonderful, award winning work.” Generations of Hope provides developmental services to individuals and organizations who wish to create an intentional inter-generational neighborhood for populations such as foster-adoptive children, youth aging out of foster care, people with developmental differences and wounded warrior families providing a quality, helping lifestyle for seniors and a vulnerable population . It is currently working on twenty projects around the country and in Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org 217.381.9403 Huntington Tower 201 W. Springfield, Suite 209 Champaign, IL 61820 Phone: 217-363-3080 ghdc.generationsofhope.org
Feather: The Economic Case For Age-Friendly Communities
If we are going to get anywhere building lifelong communities that work for everyone, we must be able to show that older people, far from being the economic drain they are sometimes painted to be, are an economic boon, says John Feather in his latest Huffington Post blog. Age-friendly communities can help us re-imagine our cities and towns, improve services, and stimulate economic growth. Framed this way, age-friendly communities become economic engines, not cost centers. So engage your mayor. Crunch some numbers with your regional economist. Befriend an urban planner. Take a real estate developer to lunch. Communities for all ages need allies in every sector.
"America, Let's Do Lunch" campaign from Meals on Wheels
Great new ad campaign to recruit volunteers for Meals on Wheels, produced by The Ad Council. We welcome Meals on Wheels as a new GIA affiliate member.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundations Launches New Guide to Help Older Adults
As part of this Healthy Food Fund initiative, the Foundation recently published a guide for older adults called “Healthy, Delicious Food at Every Age,” which provides easy-to-use information on eating and living well as an older adult – including tips on how to shop for, cook and even grow your own healthy food, and features recipes and important information on how food interacts with common medications. Enclosed is a copy for your use. Please contact Deborah Liu at Deborah_liu@harvardpilgrim.org for additional copies.
Aging Societies Should Make More of Mentorship: Freedman & Stamp
In this piece by Encore.org's Marc Freedman and Eisner Foundation's Trent Stamp for the Harvard business Review, the authors argue that research by Harvard Medical School professor George Vaillant demonstrates that older people who mentor and support younger people in work and in life are three times as likely to be happy as those who fail to engage in this way. And there is a substantial body of knowledge showing that younger people themselves can reap many benefits for this kind of sponsorship and support. Valliant goes on to argue that the benefit derived these connections isn’t just luck, it’s essential to human nature—stating simply that “biology flows downhill,” that we’re wired to come together across the ages. If biology flows downhill, shouldn’t society as well—especially when society will contain more older people than ever before, while becoming more dependent than ever on the productivity of a relatively smaller cohort of young people?
Kathy Greenlee to retire at the end of July
Edwin Walker, who currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging, will assume the roles of Acting Administrator of ACL and Acting Assistant Secretary for Aging.
Dychtwald: 5 Course Corrections Needed for a Better Future of Aging
Writing in Next Avenue, Ken Dycthwald of AgeWave sets out top priorities for a better future for an aging America.
Pew: Can Car-Centric Suburbs Adjust to Aging Baby Boomers?
The American suburbs, built for returning GIs and their burgeoning families, are already aging. In 1950, only 7.4 percent of suburban residents were 65 and older. By 2014, it was 14.5 percent. It will rise dramatically in the coming decades, with the graying of 75.4 million baby boomers mostly living in suburbia. But car-centric suburban neighborhoods with multilevel homes and scarce sidewalks are a poor match for people who can’t climb stairs or drive a car.“Most [boomers] are in a state of denial about what really is possible and what’s reasonable for them as they age,” said John Feather, a gerontologist and the CEO of Grantmakers in Aging, a national association of foundations for seniors.
Unique challenges in rural health care: HealthLeaders Media
Rural healthcare providers, who have long dealt with an older and sicker demographic, difficulty in finding physicians, and economic constraints, and are now pushed to the brink by healthcare reform, writes HealthLeaders Media's John Commins. Many rural healthcare leaders are embracing population health as their future—not because it offers economic salvation (it doesn't), but because it makes perfect sense for their mission: to provide care for the community. For the most part, U.S. Census data show that the 2,000 or so rural and nonurban hospitals that serve this population treat a patient base that is generally older, sicker, and less affluent than their urban counterparts. Rural hospitals have much more difficulty recruiting and retaining providers than do urban hospitals. Wide stretches of rural America are bereft of healthcare services.
Opening our eyes to elder abuse
An estimated 5 million older Americans are abused, neglected or exploited every year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, reports Next Avenue on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. That’s a conservative number, the organization says: for every one case that’s reported, as many as 23 are not. “Elder mistreatment is a serious public health issue, and merits the same level of response as child abuse or domestic abuse,” says Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., president of The John A. Hartford Foundation and a researcher and authority on elder mistreatment and abuse.
Next Avenue: programs to pay family caregivers
A program offered through the Massachusetts Medicaid program called Caregiver Homes compensates families for their caregiving, reports Next Avenue.So far, six states offer structured family caregiving programs: Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio and Rhode Island. More widespread than structured family caregiving is a model known as “cash and counseling.” Arkansas pioneered it in 1998 through a federal demonstration grant. Now Arkansas’s Independent Choices is one of many such programs around the nation that help 800,000 low-income people who are at risk of having to move to a nursing home. Beneficiaries can pay family (most states do not cover spouses) or friends for caregiving services. By doing so, they often get more help than they would if they paid for home care through an agency.
The Atlantic: The graying of rural America
Over the past two decades, as cities have become job centers that attract diverse young people, rural America has become older, whiter, and less populated, The Atlantic reports. Population decline in rural America is especially concentrated in the West. There’s a lot of wide-open land there, but most people, and young people especially, live in the cities.
Feather, GIA members named GSA Fellows
The newly named Fellows of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — include John Feather, PhD, CEO of GIA, as well as GIA members Gretchen E. Alkema, PhD, of The SCAN Foundation; Richard Browdie, MBA, of the Benjamin Rose Institute; and Ruth D. Palombo, PhD, recently retired from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. GSA inducted 94 Fellows in all. See the whole list here.
NYTimes: America's homeless getting older
The New York Times reports that there were 306,000 people over 50 living on the streets in 2014, the most recent data available, a 20 percent jump since 2007, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They now make up 31 percent of the nation’s homeless population.
RWJ Opportunity: Managing Director, Leadership for Better Health
Job opportunity at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Reporting to the senior vice president for Programs, the managing director, Leadership for Better Health, will specifically lead the newly refined set of four change leadership programs designed to extend the influence and impact of leaders working to build a Culture of Health, including: Health Policy Research Scholars, Clinical Scholars Program, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, and Culture of Health Leaders. Core to the Foundation’s mission, these programs support the development of diverse health care leaders as well as leaders from other sectors who can help build health into our communities and the nation as a whole. Additionally, the managing director will cultivate relationships with the business sector to engage and empower business leaders in championing a Culture of Health.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Fdn healthy nutrition grants
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has awarded $202,950 in new ‘Healthy Food for Every Age’ grants to 22 not-for-profit initiatives in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. The funded programs are designed to help older adults eat better and stay connected to their communities through community garden, cooking, and nutrition programs. Grant awards are renewable for one additional year. These new grants bring the total amount of Healthy Food Fund grants awarded in 2015-2016 to more than $1.6 million.
Cambia Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program in Journal of Palliative Medicine
A special report by 10 physicians and nurses of the inaugural cohort of Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program was accepted and published in the recent issue of Journal of Palliative Medicine, “The Cambia Sojourns Scholars Leadership Program: Project Summaries from the Inaugural Scholar Cohort.” The report highlights background, aims and results to date of 10 innovative palliative-care projects.
Nominate: Archstone Award for Excellence in Program Innovation
The Aging & Public Health Section of the American Public Health Association will accept nominations for the 2016 Archstone Award for Excellence in Program Innovation. The award was established in 1997 to identify best practice models in the field of health and aging, and to provide recognition and an opportunity to highlight the work at the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association. The winner is expected to attend the 144th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver, Colorado, October 29 – November 2, 2016, at a special Aging & Public Health Section Award Session and attend the awards ceremony. In recognition of this achievement, and to assist with the travel expenses, the winning organization will receive a $500 cash award.
The Health Foundation graduates Health Leadership Fellows
Thirty-six leaders from health-related and safety net organizations across western and central New York graduated from the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York Health Leadership Fellows program at an event Monday, May 2, 2016 at the Strong Museum in Rochester, NY.
New coalition brings community organizations together to make Englewood age-friendly
Questions in the surveys include asking about seniors’ living situations, issues and challenges affecting their neighborhoods, finding out what services, transportation, health and wellness, arts and entertainment and public spaces they currently use. "They want to have services as they get older," said Sharma. "They don’t drive, but don’t want to be isolated. They want to have a social life, so we’re figuring out what people want and what’s already available."
Gary and Mary West Fdtn supports new geriatric ER
An emergency unit being planned for UC San Diego’s Thornton Hospital will be the first in the region to focus solely on seniors, a group whose sheer numbers and complex medical needs are expected to strain available resources as the baby boom generation reaches retirement age, the San-Diego Union-Tribune reports. An $11.8 million grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation is making the university’s project possible and signals a new, deeper geriatrics research collaboration between UC San Diego and the West Health Institute, which has recently tightened its focus on aging issues.
Milken Institute report: The Future of Aging: Realizing the Potential of Longevity
This report, from the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, offers reflections from top thought leaders, and members of the Institute's Advisory Board, on the potential created by greater longevity and the best ways to realize it. In the words of chairman Paul Irving, "We envision a future that advances public health, creates age-friendly homes and communities, enables lifelong learning, work, and entrepreneurship, and promotes purposeful engagement and volunteerism."
Next Avenue: Why so few age-friendly cities?
This article from Next Avenue quotes John Feather, Ruth Finkelstein, and Paul Irving on the challenges to creating age-friendly cities and the strategies that succeed.
New grants from Jewish Healthcare Foundation
$165,000 in new grant funding will support master planning to improve senior services in the areas of exercise and mobility, technology, housing, and senior-friendly models of care. Funding will also support preparation for the transition to Managed Long-Term Services and Supports: Supporting Community Independence and Choice for Vulnerable Populations.
NY Times: Rural seniors often lack access to health care
What’s it like to grow old in rural America? The New York Times' Paula Span writes in The New Old Age column that it can be tough. The rural American population is older: About 15 percent of residents are 65 or older, compared with 12 percent in urban areas, largely because many people have left in search of education and jobs. There is more chronic illness, including higher rates of diabetes, stroke, cognitive impairment, heart arrhythmia and heart failure, generally poorer health and higher mortality. Yet because they struggle to attract and keep health professionals, it’s harder for older residents there to get health care.
Late-life money worries aren't one-size-fits-all
The share of U.S. elders in poverty goes from 9 to 15 percent when a new Census Bureau formula reflecting health care costs is applied, said Ramsey Alwin, AARP's Director of Thought Leadership on FInancial Resilience, speaking during a "Conversations with GIA" webinar. If this trend plays out, she said, "that means there will be more than 11 million older adults living in poverty by 2020." Another concern: "Those living on the edge, one crisis away."
Forbes: Older Americans Act is reauthorized
Congress has finally renewed the Older Americans Act—a key piece of the social safety net for seniors, writes Howard Gleckman in Forbes. It is good that, after a decade in limbo, the law finally has been reauthorized. But before you break out the balloons and champagne, remember that keeping programs alive on paper is not the same as paying for them. And the government safety net for seniors has been fraying for years, victimized by woeful underfunding.
Forbes: New poll from CHCF, Cambia, John A. Hartford Foundations
Even though 95% of doctors support the new Medicare benefit that pays for end-of-life consultations with patients, just 14% say they have billed for such a conversation, reports Bruce Japsen in Forbes, on the new poll of physicians co-commissioned by Cambia Health Foundation, the California Health Care Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation. The poll, "Conversation Stopper: What's Preventing Physicians from Talking with Patients about End-of-Life and Advance Care Planning?" explores barriers to this important form of care. “We are surfacing these barriers, which is great because people haven’t been talking about the benefit or how to have a good conversation about end of life wishes,” said Terry Fulmer, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation.
NPR: Architect says it's time to design for aging
Architect Matthias Hollwich wondered what the next 40 years of his life might look like, reports NPR. He looked into the architecture that serves older adults, places like retirement communities and assisted living facilities, and didn't like what he saw. But what if we changed our habits earlier in life so we could stay in the communities we already live in? An architect's view of age-friendly design.
John Feather's ASA presentation on ageism and philanthropy
John Feather, PhD, CEO of Grantmakers In Aging, gave this presentation at ASA in 2016, on ageism, philanthropy, and ReFraming Aging.
WPost: I needed care for my aunt; I found an eldercare crisis
Unfortunately, our medical system caters to extremes, taking care of you most quickly if you are critically ill, covering you financially only if you’re destitute, according to the Washington Post. "This process has given me a good idea of exactly how frustrating our medical system can be for most seniors and their families." I now understand why one doctor told me a lot of people just wind up putting elders in nursing homes instead of having them stay home.
John A. Hartford Foundation approves $6.7M in new grants
One of the grants, on end-of-life care, includes six innovators and a national collaboration among 18 funders. Learn more from president Terry Fulmer's latest Health AGEnda blog outlining all the new grants.
One-size-fits-all services don't suit younger grandmothers raising grandchildren
Earlier works suggest that younger caregiving grandmothers tend to report higher levels of emotional distress, including depression, when compared with older caregivers. They may experience a sense of loss when personal and professional goals go unrealized. They may also find family caregiving less gratifying than do their older counterparts. Understanding how variables such as age affect African-American custodial grandmothers could lead to beneficial changes in mental health practice strategies and the development of age-appropriate support interventions. Support services designed to target specific individual and family needs have been associated with reducing the negative effects produced by these stressors.
African Americans at higher dementia risk than other racial groups
Dementia afflicts black people and American Indians more than other racial groups in the U.S., according to a recent study highlighting dramatic disparities in the prevalence of the disease. Researchers looked at six different racial and ethnic groups – African Americans, American Indians and Alaska natives, Hispanics, Pacific islanders, Asian Americans and whites. Dementia rates varied widely, with blacks 65 percent more likely to develop the disorder than Asian Americans, the study found. “The fact that our heterogeneous groups of Asian Americans as a whole had a markedly lower risk is illuminating and speaks to the fact that we need to understand why so we can help lower the risk for everyone,” said senior study author Dr. Rachel Whitmer, an epidemiologist with Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco.
GIA Report: Making the case for age-friendly communities
This report, The Case for Age-Friendly Communities, was prepared for Grantmakers In Aging by Margaret B. Neal, Ph.D., and Alan DeLaTorre, Ph.D., of the Portland State University Institute on Aging. Beyond what individuals themselves can do to age optimally, the movement to create communities that are age-friendly focuses on how the economic, physical, and social environments can be improved to address not only the needs but also to maximize the assets of an aging population, for the benefit of all. (An Executive Summary of this report is also available in the GIA Resource Center.)
The Changing Definition of a ‘Full Life’
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when 70 stopped being an acceptable age for a lifetime to end. Certainly, some of it had to do with gradually lengthening life expectancies. As life expectancies continue to change, so too will our collective ideas about death and its timing—not just for geniuses who write generation-defining anthems, but also the rest of us who still have unfinished business of our own, says The Atlantic.
Fewer Older Women are Living Alone
After rising for nearly a century, the percentage of older women living along is now on the decline. New Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data finds that since 1990 the share of older women between the ages of 65 and 84 living alone dropped 6%. One reason, increase in life expectancy, especially among men, has made it more likely that older women would be living with their spouses rather than as widows. The findings also underline the extent to which older adults value their independence and wish to live in their own home, even when they can no longer care for themselves.
AARP: How To Develop Age-Friendly Efforts That Last
Since its creation in 2012, the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities has attracted dozens of U.S. towns, cities and counties to its ranks. In this blog, AARP Livable Communities project advisor Jeanne Anthony outlines the Guiding Principles for the Sustainability of Age-Friendly Community Efforts from GIA's working framework document by that title. "The framework, and its principles and related strategies, will be helpful to a wide range of community leaders, elected officials, organizations and residents interested in creating age-friendly communities," she writes.
New Dartmouth Atlas examines variations in care for seniors
The latest Dartmouth Atlas report, supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation, "Our Parents, Ourselves: Health Care for an Aging Population" takes a close and compelling look at how older adults receive care across the United States.
The Health Care Neighborhood: Philanthropy’s Role in Aging Well
Gregory DiDomenico, President and CEO of the Community Memorial Foundation, writes about how health care needs to "get beyond the blind side" and deal more comprehensively with people's social needs in order to provide the best health care. To effect this kind of change, the foundation has moved from grantmaking to "change making" with the Aging Well Neighborhood (formerly the Older Adult Health Neighborhood), created in 2014 as the next step toward collaboratively transforming the health care of aging adults in their community.
GIA launches new members-only portal
GIA is proud to announce the opening of our new members-only portal. The portal provides GIA members with access to the new members-only section, with a member directory and other resources. If you are a GIA member, you should have received an email with temporary credentials. Learn more.
GIA on HuffPost: Sustainable grantmaking for age-friendly communities
Foundations, government agencies, corporate giving programs, social venture groups, and individual philanthropists are working to ensure that, when they make a grant, it includes ideas, structures, and often, partnerships to help ensure that the supported work will last, write co-authors John Feather and Jenny Campbell in this Huffington Post blog. Funding sustainable age-friendly community work A good example of this kind of sustainable grantmaking can be found in the field of age-friendly community development.
NY Times: Where are the geriatricians?
Geriatrics is one of the few medical specialties in the United States that is contracting even as the need increases, ranking at the bottom of the list of specialties that internal medicine residents choose to pursue. “One of the greatest stories of the 20th century was that we doubled the life expectancy of adults,” said Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation, which funds programs to improve the care of older adults. “Now we need to make sure we have all the supports in place to assure not just a long life but a high quality of that long life.”
John A. Hartford Fdtn new program director is Rani Snyder
Rani Snyder will join the Foundation in March as the new Program Director. She previously worked at the Donald W. Reynold Foundation
Sarasota Herald-Tribune: "Elder justice dangles within reach"
"I know she steals my silverware, but at least she comes every day." Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation, quoted these words of her former patient in a Grantmakers in Aging webinar this week, "Making Elder Justice a Reality." The poignant mix of vulnerability and pragmatism at work here is no doubt familiar to a lot of elders and their caregivers, and it illustrates the difficulty of finally doing something meaningful about the complex problem of elder abuse. Joining her in the talk was Kathy Greenlee, U.S. assistant secretary for aging and a passionate advocate for raising the profile of elder abuse.
Elder Economic Security, How Grantmakers Can Help
How can Grantmakers help to increase economic security for older Americans? A new booklet from the Grantmakers In Aging initiative on economic security has been created to address that very question. Contained within is an overview of the economic status of older Americans, and tools for how grantmakers can improve elder economic security in their communities and across the country.
Creating a Sustainable Network for the Rural Aging Movement
To improve the experience of rural aging, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) is launching an important new initiative titled Creating a Sustainable Network for the Rural Aging Movement -- a three-year project aimed at developing ways to connect and support key players concerned with rural aging, share knowledge, and expand the resources and services available to older adults in rural areas. The project is supported by a three-year grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
Americans need to start seeing elder abuse as a problem that must be tackled
Elder abuse remains low on the list of public priorities, according to a new FrameWorks Institute report. Despite breakthroughs in state and federal funding for elder-abuse prevention, elder abuse as an issue isn't likely to gain much traction until Americans start seeing it as real problem that can be tackled through new policies and collective action. The report goes on to highlight the gap between how experts in the field and the public think about elder abuse and what can be done about it.
Tufts Health Plan Fdtn announces $1.5m in age-friendly grants
The Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced today investments of more than $1.5 million to move communities toward achieving age-friendly policies and practices that are relevant, focus on the most vulnerable, and include older adults in the process. The investments represent collaborative work among more than 200 organizations.
Assisted-Death Laws Accentuate Need for Palliative Care, Doctors Say
In October, California became the fifth — and largest — state to allow physicians to prescribe lethal medications to certain patients who ask for it. The law takes effect in 2016, Kaiser Health News reports. It’s not just a question of whether they support aid-in-dying or personally would ever help end a life. Palliative care doctors say the law underscores the need to raise awareness among doctors and patients about what they do and to expand access to high-quality programs.
Why going to the dentist is so hard for the elderly
Good dental hygiene is important to overall health, and chronic illnesses and medications can worsen oral health, the Washington Post reports. Yet providing dental care to seniors is fraught with challenges. According to the American Dental Association, a fifth of people age 75 and older haven’t seen a dentist in the past five years. Many older patients are resistant because of fear or years of neglect — or they have impaired cognitive skills and don’t understand the need. Others are not mobile enough to get to a dental office.
Gender pay gap? The retirement gap is even worse
Certainly, poverty among the elderly is a problem for both men and women. But while the poverty rate for men age 65 and over is 7.4 percent, for women it is 64 percent higher, at 12.1 percent. In addition, 45 percent of women age 75 and over live alone, without the financial cushion a partner can provide. And as the population ages, the number of women at financial risk will rise.Women's median IRA account balances are 71 percent as big as men's and their median defined contribution savings just 66 percent. That savings disparity is just one reason for the yawning financial gap leaving millions of older women in poverty: Nearly 2.9 million women lived in poverty in 2013, more than twice the number of men, according to the National Women's Law Center.
NYTimes: As lives lengthen, costs mount
Some elderly New Yorkers receive too much income to be eligible for assistance, but not enough to pay for the services they need.
Some Older Patients Are Treated Not Wisely, but Too Much
Evidence is accumulating that older adults with diabetes, hypertension and other conditions should be treated less aggressively than they commonly are, reports Paula Span in the New york Times. “Deintensification,” researchers have named this approach. As this and another related recent study have shown, not for the first time, getting that message out to practicing physicians has proved difficult.
Is Rural America Philanthropy’s Final Frontier?
Institutional philanthropy in the United States has long neglected rural communities, writes Ryan Schlegel in the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's blog. As recently noted by the Nonprofit Quarterly, it seems rural philanthropic investment levels may be at a low point, despite much talked-about recent efforts to steer funds into rural communities. In a rare breach of the live-and-let-live relationship usually maintained between politicians and the philanthropic sector, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called foundations to task for their complacency. His comments should turn heads, and hopefully, remind philanthropists that the sector’s broken promise to rural communities is a political and moral failure that will take a concerted campaign of organizing, educating and persuading to correct.
Feather: Engaging private philanthropy in aging: time for a new approach
Writing in ASA's Generations, GIA CEO John Feather says there are three main misconceptions about aging, explains how the Gauging Aging report can help reframe our language and approach, and calls on funders to bring an "aging lens" to work with a broader range of partners.
To Age Well, Change How You Feel About Aging
Scientists are discovering something very peculiar about aging: How we feel about getting old matters. A lot. In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer, the Wall Street Journal report. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind. That research holds out the possibility for much healthier aging. But it also points to a very big obstacle: Negative stereotypes about aging are pervasive in America. Even many older adults embrace the idea that getting old is a bad thing—which means they’re doing potentially serious harm to their health without realizing it.
GIA leaders attend conference on making NJ more age-friendly
The Conference on Creating Age-Friendly Communities in Northern New Jersey, held at Montclair State University, was attended by more than 150 social service organizations, business leaders, academics, architects, community planners and elected officials from 35 towns, NorthJersey.com reports. The age-friendly gathering featured remarks by GIA CEO John Feather and Community AGEnda grantee Kathryn Lawler, among others, and was supported by the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation and the Grotta Fund for Senior Care.
AARP Foundation Launches Impact-Investing Program
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that, with $5 million in initial support, the AARP Foundation hopes to attract a total of $70 million to what it calls the first impact-investing program designed to benefit struggling older adults. AARP Foundation made a $1-million grant to the effort, called Age Strong, and also provided $4 million in a program-related investment that has the potential to generate returns. In addition, the foundation’s parent organization has pledged up to $6 million. Using the grant maker’s support as a launching pad, the Calvert Foundation plans to raise up to $60 million from private investors seeking both a financial return and social benefits for the country’s aging population. Capital Impact Partners, a nonprofit community-development group, will identify projects designed to help people over 50 secure housing, access to healthy food, and an improved financial situation and to remedy problems associated with isolation.
GIA board chair Chris Langston on health IT, scribes
In this piece for Aging Today, John A. Hartford Foundation program director and GIA Board Chair Christopher Langston, PhD, reflects on the role of the medical scribein health IT. "Scribes can make several patient visits possible that otherwise could not be fit into a day, and thereby more than offset their cost. Other advocates potential for “returning joy” to the practice of medicine. If we add those non-monetized benefits of scribes in reducing stress, burnout and days that don’t end with hours of charting, using scribes seems to be a no-brainer.for primary care have noted scribes’The downside of the practice: "The scribe is a Band-Aid that enables the system to limp forward and, in so doing, removes the urgency for more systematic and fundamental change."
To Sell Med Students On Joy Of Geriatrics, Send 90 yr-olds
NPR's Shots blog reports that the American Geriatrics Society estimates that the nation will need about 30,000 geriatricians by 2030 to serve the 30 percent of older Americans with the most complicated medical problems. Yet there are only about 7,000 geriatricians currently practicing. Efforts to introduce relatively healthy older adults to medical students can "reduce the sense of futility and show [the students] that there are real people with real lives who can benefit from quality health care," said Chris Langston, program director at the John A. Hartford Foundation, which focuses on aging and health. Langston has been analyzing the trend for the past several years.
On sustainable age-friendly communities: Community AGEnda
As the leadership team from GIA's Community AGEnda explores, in ASA's Aging Today, "Creating great places to grow up and grow old, however, requires a sustained investment in infrastructure, programs and services—well beyond traditional philanthropic support, one-off government funding and modest volunteer contributions. How then do we build on the movement’s successes to date and accelerate sustainable progress at local, state, national and international levels?"
NYTimes: Aging population without doctors to match
Most health care professionals have had little to no training in the care of older adults, this New York Times op-ed piece explains. Currently, 97 percent of all medical students in the United States do not take a single course in geriatrics.Recent studies show that good geriatric care can make an enormous difference. Older adults whose health is monitored by a geriatrician enjoy more years of independent living, greater social and physical functioning and lower presence of disease. In addition, these patients show increased satisfaction, spend less time in the hospital, exhibit markedly decreased rates of depression and spend less time in nursing homes.
Stunning and expanding life expectancy gap between rich, poor
Wealthy and middle-class baby boomers can expect to live substantially longer than their parents' generation, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, life expectancy for the poor hasn't increased and may even be declining, according to a report published Thursday by several leading economists. Call it a growing inequality of death — and it means that the poor ultimately may collect less in money from some of the government's safety net programs than the rich.
Cambia Health Foundation announces $1.8M for palliative care
Cambia Health Foundation has named the 10 recipients of a two-year, $180,000 grant through its annual, national Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program. The innovative program promotes palliative care workforce development by funding research, clinical, educational or policy projects. In addition, national leaders will mentor the Sojourns Scholars, further broadening their learning and leadership development opportunities. The 2015 class of Sojourns Scholars spans the nation, representing Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Oral health included in OAA
The United States Senate unanimously approved reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA), and with the insertion oral health. This amendment will open the door for state and area agencies on aging to use funds to improve the oral health of older adults throughout the United States. Under this bill, oral health screenings and related disease prevention and health promotion activities could be paid for with these funds. This is a victory for millions of older Americans, and for the numerous groups, including the Center for Oral Health and California's coalition, Oral Health Action California (OHAC), that have urged the Senate to include oral health in the Senate reauthorization bill. Seventy percent of older Americans lack dental benefits, which are not included in Medicare.
NY Times: A Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward Hospice Care
Federal statistics show that nearly half of white Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice before death, compared with only a third of black patients. The racial divide is even more pronounced when it comes to advance care directives — legal documents meant to help families make life-or-death decisions that reflect a patient’s choices. Some 40 percent of whites aged 70 and over have such plans, compared with only 16 percent of blacks.
Community AGEnda grantee Age-friendly Miami-Dade: Focus on aging
Overall, Miami-Dade County scored only a 48 out of 100 on AARP’s newly released “Livability Index,” a tool that measures and compares the quality of life for older adults in cities across the nation, the Miami Herald reports. The bad news is that we have work to do; the good news is that we have a way to do that. The Miami Dade Age-Friendly Initiative is a collaboration between community partners such as the Health Foundation of South Florida, AARP Florida, United Way of Miami-Dade, Miami-Dade County, Urban Health Partnerships and the Alliance for Aging. We are working together to identify and implement specific actions and strategies that can make our community more welcoming and accessible to older adults.